NCWIT and AT&T Honor Computer Science Faculty with Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award

Publication Date: 14/04/2014

$5,000 Awarded to Computing Professors for Their Outstanding Efforts to Support Women and Minority Undergraduates

The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) and AT&T today announced the recipients of the 2014 NCWIT Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award, which recognizes computing professors for their outstanding mentorship, high-quality research opportunities, and efforts to encourage and advance undergraduates (particularly women and minorities) in computing-related fields. The NCWIT Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award is sponsored by AT&T, who will honor each of the recipients’ academic institutions with a gift of $5,000.

“AT&T is honored to award these educators who are grooming the innovators of tomorrow,” said Chris Anderson, Vice President of Information Technology Centralized Development and Shared Services at AT&T. “Through their dedication and spirit we are seeing an increasing number of students with diverse backgrounds enter the computing community.  Their efforts have inspired their students to strive for more and we hope this award is a catalyst to motivate other educators developing leaders in STEM disciplines. AT&T, through this award and other programs such as AT&T Aspire, is demonstrating that technology is a field in need of the power of diversity. These professors deliver on that need.”

“We’re delighted to recognize these influential educators with support from AT&T,” said Lucy Sanders, NCWIT CEO and Co-founder. “Not only are they serving their students as mentors, they’re serving society as change leaders for women in computing.”

Research experiences for undergraduates (REUs) have been shown to impact students’ career decisions and influence the path of their graduate studies. REUs can be particularly powerful for female students, who currently earn only 18% of undergraduate degrees in computing.

Following are the 2014 Winners of the NCWIT Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award:

  • Dr. Robert Beck: Professor in the Department of Computing Sciences at Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania. Dr. Beck encourages students, especially first-year students, to work on research projects that he directs. In addition, Dr. Beck has established funds for many students to attend Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conferences. Many of his students receive various awards, scholarships, admission to graduate programs, and summer internships that lead to full-time jobs. Of his undergraduate protégés, 66% are female and 28% are members of underrepresented groups.

  • Dr. Marie Desjardins: Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County (UMBC), Baltimore, Maryland. Dr. Desjardins actively recruits students to work on research projects and mentors them as well. She has published 14 technical articles with undergraduate co-authors. Additionally, her students regularly present at UMBC’s annual Research Review Day and other workshops/conferences. Of her undergraduate protégés, 30% are female and 25% are members of underrepresented groups.

  • Dr. Silvia Figueira: Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Engineering, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, California. Dr. Figueira created several venues and the Undergraduate Research course in order to enable her students to work on research projects, including a school that didn’t previously have an undergraduate research program. She also encourages students to apply to various research programs. Many of her students have joined MS and PhD programs in CSE departments, including an individual who went to the Naval Postgraduate School and graduated with distinction, receiving a Master of Science in Computer Science and the school’s Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper Computer Science Award. Of her undergraduate protégés, 40% are female and 30% are members of underrepresented groups.

  • Dr. Alan Jamieson: Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at St. Mary’s College of Maryland St. Mary’s City, Maryland. Dr. Jamieson has mentored the majority of the women and ethnic minority undergraduates in the computer science program at St. Mary’s pursuing research in their respective fields. He has mentored 80% of the students (including all of the women) in the school’s program that went on to MS and PhD programs. Of his undergraduate protégés, 37% are female and 37% are members of underrepresented groups.


The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) is a non-profit community of more than 500 universities, companies, non-profits, and government organizations nationwide working to increase women’s participation in computing and technology. NCWIT helps organizations more effectively recruit, retain, and advance girls and women in K-12 through college education, and from academic to corporate and startup careers. Find out more at

The NCWIT Academic Alliance (AA) brings together nearly 800 distinguished representatives from academic computing programs at more than 300 colleges and universities across the country. Charged with implementing institutional change in higher education, the AA provides feedback on NCWIT programs, contributes and adopts effective practices, and serves as a national agent of change. Find out more at

About AT&T

AT&T Inc. is a premier communications holding company and one of the most honored companies in the world. Its subsidiaries and affiliates – AT&T operating companies – are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and internationally. With a powerful array of network resources that includes the nation’s most reliable 4G LTE network, AT&T is a leading provider of wireless, Wi-Fi, high speed Internet, voice and cloud-based services. A leader in mobile Internet, AT&T also offers the best wireless coverage worldwide of any U.S. carrier, offering the most wireless phones that work in the most countries.  It also offers advanced TV service with the AT&T U-verse® brand. The company’s suite of IP-based business communications services is one of the most advanced in the world.

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